Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 47, Tuesday May 11, 2004






Eco talks
Environmental tobacco smoking

Widely known as the "second hand smoking", Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is the exposure to someone else's cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke and considered as a indoor pollution since some of the harmful materials in indoor air that cause indoor pollution originates from tobacco smoke. Everybody is aware of the danger that cigarette smoking posses but one is not a smoker yet constantly exposed to ETS might be in more danger since ETS is the combination of two forms smoke from burning tobacco products. The first kind of smoke is called sidestream smoke, which is emitted between puffs of a burning cigarette, pipe or cigar and the second one is the mainstream smoke or the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. Composed by both sidestream and mainstream, ETS is diluted by the air every time the tobacco smoke is released and comes in contact with other indoor pollutants, which makes it quite a dangerous of its kind. Studies have found out that whether smokers or non-smokers in a room with ETS, everyone will have similar exposure to it because about 85% of ETS in a room comes from sidestream smoke. More than 3,000 chemicals are present in tobacco smoke including at least 60 known carcinogens. When non-smokers are exposed to ETS absorb all these compounds just as the smokers do.
It certainly is a matter of great concern as the exposure to ETS can effect the health in a very negative way. Although it is hard to measure the exposure of passive smoker to ETS but the actual level of exposure varies according to the type and number of tobacco products burned, the number of smokers present, the rate and the manner of smoking, the ventilation system of the room and percentage of fresh air supplied. But none the less any exposure to ETS can result in a wide range of physical discomforts. Starting from the lung nasal sinus cancer in healthy adult nonsmokers ETS can cause respiratory, cardiovascular and developmental problems in health. Among developmental health effects, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndromes are common while cardiovascular effects include heart disease mortality, acute and chronic coronary heart disease morbidity.

ETS can effect on persons with pre-existing diseases as it worsens existing pulmonary symptoms for people with asthma and chronic bronchitis as well as for people with allergic reactions. Other health effects include eye irritation, sore throat, nausea, cough, nasal discomfort and hoarseness. Children are the most vulnerable to the diseases that are caused by the ETS. The most common types are the acute lower respiratory tract infections, asthma induction and exacerbation and chronic respiratory symptoms. Exposure to parental smoking may result in lower respiratory tract infection (pneumonia, bronchitis and other infections) as well as upper respiratory tract symptoms like sore throat and colds in infant and children. Women who are pregnant are also at great risk since exposure to ETS effects on the fetus. Studies have found out that non-smoking woman exposed to passive smoking are 2-4 times more likely to have a baby born with a low birth weight and babies with low birth weight have a smaller chance of survival.

Dhumpaney Bishpan yet people still smoke. Since this is doing no body any good some steps must be taken to keep the non-smokers safe from the harmful exposure to ETS. A separate room or space must be selected for smokers and the house must have a proper ventilation system. The ventilation systems must be able to release the tobacco smoke out side quickly and usher outdoor air to improve the indoor air quality. Lastly, most importantly and the most easy way of controlling this pollution is to quit smoking.

By Obaidur Rahman


Your mom and mine, the golden oldies of Bengal

Why don't you see a marriage counsellor?" such a friendly advice is given with relative ease these days. You can live with someone a lifetime yet the heart belongs to no one in particular. In an era of high-octane lifestyles and frequent upheavals, relationships are more difficult to nurture than to start. My friend Lyndo and I often talk about the intricacies of life and the days gone by. No judgement calls are made, that is too stressful and inconclusive. A waste of time, since judgement calls lead to arguments and a not so merry go round of logic, emotion and taking sides. It is better to open your heart and share great stories from your own families. We just open our hearts and let it out. It was my turn to talk about a woman I have known all my life.

In a tender age of early teen a girl comes to the village home of her husband. . There are nine little in-laws to look after. A child bride becomes a mother to eight children. She cooks for them, washes the cloths and looks after their needs. Shoshur Abba may come home anytime from the mayoral duty of the village setting, so better take care of the chores and prepare food and wait for his arrival. Husband is still a student and has a weak health. Looking after him is not hard since he is a brilliant student and is busy with his studies. One by one, she has 10 children of her own. The day begins at 5:00 a.m. and ends at 12.00 P.M.

The city of London, England in the 60's. My mother finds time to take life with less work than usual. She picked-up the ways of the English people quickly and lived there for 4 years, taking care of myself and my twin brother, in the cockney city of Double Decker buses, superstores and checkout counters, strange men who speak in English, the meter reader or the plumber giving prompt service and with a smile too. We know from Abba that she did not flinch for even a tiny moment, and learnt to tackle the new world with the same ease she showed when moving from "Burumdi" to "Sonargaon" to her husbands house.

Our home has always been full of people, six sisters and four brothers, taking my mom through the experience of looking after children and with the same care and devotion she learnt as a little child bride .As we grew-up in a household of discipline and traditional values, our mother would disappear for hours or days to visit her in-laws, as some of them had married and were to have children of their own! She was by the side of one of brother-in-law, as he lay fatally ill of liver complication at P.G hospital. Someone is having a baby; others just take her for granted. She would share her experience, in a spirit of help the needy. Her mantra of living a full life.

At age 67 she became a full time nanny for her youngest daughter. Imagine the chores, cleaning, bathing, feeding, and putting a crying baby to sleep. This was my mom helping my sister to attend office and try and mend a home that was under economic strain. That sister is in Germany now with her husband. They are well and living the good life.

Mother is ready to fly to Maryland to keep the urgent call from her grand daughter. The young lady would not get married if Nanu would not come to attend! At 72, she would carry her own suitcase and go to Maryland, with one companion to help her if she needs any help. We marvel at hardworking western ladies, and gape at their active lifestyles. Many grandparents live a fuller life in Bangladesh since they share their lives with the rest of the family. Senior citizens in the west are described as geriatrics and left to fend for themselves. We can be happier than anyone in the world, If only the old values are not allowed to fade away and die like so many golden oldies in the west.

By Ershad Khandker



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